Tag Archives: Karen O Novak

Last night, everything was normal… Or was it?

Charmian Hughes: The ghost of parties yet to come

Charmian Hughes: The ghost of parties yet to come

Yesterday, my blog was about surreality.

Last night, some reality returned. But only some.

I went to comedian Charmian Hughes’ Christmas party. in South London.

Passing through Blackfriars station, I heard a woman sitting on a metal bench with a younger man (possibly her son) say: “I want to have a proper chat and I can’t with you because you don’t drink.”

It was like a flat stone skimming across the surface of water. Briefly touching a few seconds of other people’s lives.

Comedian Lewis Schaffer met me at Peckham Rye station with his bicycle. We walked to Charmian’s. Lewis did not ride the bicycle. We talked of heart attacks, lungs and cholesterol levels. At one point, he said: “This is old men’s talk.” I had to agree. It is wise to agree with Lewis Schaffer. It saves time.

David Don’t at the party last night

Magic David Don’t at the party last night

At the party, Charmian’s husband, magician David Don’t, told me he had recently been asked to perform at a charity gig. As it was for a charity gig, he quoted a low fee. After the show, they sent him a cheque for triple the amount agreed because they had enjoyed his act so much. I do not know what this demonstrates in terms of charities, but it must demonstrate something.

Before I left, I was talking to very amiable Polish lady Ewa Sidorenko and to Karen O Novak’s equally amiable husband Darren. We talked of toilet bowls and taps. Charmian Hughes and David Don’t do own a genuine Crapper toilet.

Conversation turned from that to the consistency of ceramics and, from there, to the fact that the British – unlike Europeans – have a separate hot tap and cold tap in sinks, rather than have a logically more sensible mixer tap.

Karen O Novak & David Mills did NOT talk of Crappers & taps

Karen O Novak & David Mills did NOT talk of Crappers & taps

I think (though I may be wrong) that Ewa Sidorenko and I came to the conclusion that having two separate taps, with the risk of scalding one’s hand with piping hot water, fulfilled the triple traditional British benefit of identifying foreigners, humiliating them and maiming them.

On my way home, at Blackfriars station again, a young man who looked a little like Prince Harry asked me if he was on the correct platform for King’s Cross. I said he was, although the train actually passed through St Pancras not King’s Cross. We got on the train together and had a long conversation about his university course and job prospects.

StPancrasChristmasTree2013

This is St Pancras station last year not this year and is definitely not King’s Cross station

I told him I had once been on the same Thameslink line and heard a Japanese lady ask, as the train pulled into St Pancras if she was on the correct train for King’s Cross. To her increasing confusion, as she looked at the signs on the walls clearly stating ST PANCRAS INTERNATIONAL, three people told her: “This IS King’s Cross”.

Last night seemed to be a slightly strange evening, but I could not quite put my finger on why. Everything was normal.

But normality can be slightly abnormal.

During the evening, on trains, I saw two people with reindeer antlers on their heads. That is perfectly normal in London at Christmas.

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Filed under Humor, Humour, London, Surreal

Lewis Schaffer and Karen O Novak – two American comedians talking cock

David Don’t and Charmian Hughes watch the cake explode

David Don’t and Charmian Hughes watch 50th birthday cake burst into flames last night

Comedian Charmian Hughes is married to magician David Don’t.

Today is David’s 50th birthday. Last night, he had a party in Peckham.

I ended up sitting at a table with London-based American comic Lewis Schaffer.

“How are your flaps?” I asked him.

The last time we met, he was telling me he has sleep apnea and has old-man flappy-flop flaps inside him.

“Flaps are inherently funny,” I said. “They’re like bananas. Flaps and bananas are inherently funny.”

“I’ve been using a mouthpiece,” said Lewis Schaffer. “If you want to see something inherently funny, it’s a 57-year-old man wearing a plastic mouthpiece in bed so he can sleep. It keeps my mouth open.”

“You don’t need an artificial aid,” I told him.

By this time, London-based American comedy force of nature Karen O Novak and her husband Darren had turned up.

And, by this time, the music was very loud.

I could not hear across the table.

I handed Lewis Schaffer my iPhone.

“Just talk to each other,” I told Lewis Schaffer. “I won’t hear what you talk about until tomorrow morning, but it will give me a blog. Keep up the American act.”

Lewis Schaffer took the iPhone. This morning, I transcribed what they said.

Lewis Schaffer and Karen O Novak reminisced last night

Lewis Schaffer & Karen O Novak remembered NYC  last night

KAREN: I’m one of the few people here who actually knows for a fact that Lewis Schaffer is not a caricature of a New York neurotic Jew. I actually fucking knew you in New York when you were just…

We just called you ‘The Neurotic Jew’ at that point.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Was I mental even for New York, do you think?

KAREN: Yup.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: So was I a character even in New York, do you think? Because you, Karen, you were a character in New York too.

KAREN: I think we’re all characters in the great big…

LEWIS SCHAFFER: No, Karen. You were a memorable person even then. You were over the top. And you weren’t even a Jew. You were like a fake Jew.

KAREN: I’m Jew… ish.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: You gotta come up with a better joke than that.

KAREN: I’m Jew by injection. I kept my first husband’s Jewness. I got it in the divorce.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: What town did you grow up in?

KAREN: Roxbury, Connecticut.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Where’s that near?

KAREN: It’s near a lot of Jews. Stephen Sondheim lives there.

David Don’t behind unknown woman outside ladies toilets last night

David Don’t in Beatles’ suit, behind an unknown woman, outside Ladies toilet

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Were you like me? People think my family had money when I was growing up, but we never had money.

KAREN: We had money.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Did you inherit any of it?

KAREN: They’re not dead yet.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I think your husband Darren loves you even without the money.

KAREN: He would have to.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Yeah, he would have to, cos you’re very annoying. I say that as a misogynist and a woman-hater.

KAREN: You’re very good at both those things.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I like the idea of women.

KAREN: You like the shape of them. The curvy squishiness…

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Even that can get on your nerves.

KAREN: … not so much the brainy part.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: A lot of my friends are women. I actually respect women. You know that about me, Karen.

David Don’t tries to remove Lewis Schaffer’s bra (perhaps you had to be there)

David Don’t tries to remove Lewis Schaffer’s bra (Don’t asked)

KAREN: I know that.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: That’s what people can’t believe. I actually spend a lot of time with women talking about how much I hate women.

KAREN: You spend a lot of time with women without your penis out. Probably the women insist on that.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: My penis doesn’t come out. It’s an ‘innie’. How long have you lived in Britain?

KAREN: About 15 years.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Same as me: 13 years.

KAREN: I don’t have any English children, though.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: John says I’m not allowed to discuss why I’m here on a Saturday night. I was supposed to have the kids tonight, but the mother is punishing me for not loving her.

KAREN: If it was me, I would punish you FOR loving me. You are SO not worthy.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: That’s why you’ve kept Darren around for so long. That’s the key to keeping a man happy. I say to women: “When you make love to a man – right after he reaches orgasm – you should slap him in the face and say: Get off me, you disgusting pervert.”

KAREN: That IS what I do.

Lewis Schaffer asks Darren a question last night

Lewis Schaffer asks Darren a question in Peckham last night

LEWIS SCHAFFER: (TO DARREN) Is that what she does?

DARREN: But I AM a disgusting pervert, so that’s fair enough.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: (TO KAREN) You probably think about going back to New York every day?

KAREN: Never. I like New York. I miss my friends there. But I don’t miss the city. The city itself is a shit hole.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: But you had a lovely apartment. It had a garden.

KAREN: We used to have some great parties in that flat.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Did he make a good living: your first husband?

KAREN: Why on earth would I have a husband who didn’t make a decent living? I’m not an idiot.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Are you calling my ex-wife an idiot? Is anyone who has sex with me an idiot?

KAREN: Pretty much, yeah.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I think so too. I like this. We’re almost having a little relationship here.

KAREN: I think we could do a podcast.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: You were on my radio show.

KAREN: Yeah, but we didn’t get a good rapport going because there were too many other people there. And we weren’t nude.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: That was the early days when the shows weren’t very good. They’ve gotten better now. I’m a more generous host. That’s the key.

KAREN: Are you a generous lover? That’s the key. When you make love to a woman, you have to give and give and give.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I bring her an extra portion of fish. What does it mean to be generous?

KAREN: Exactly. You don’t even know what it means to be generous in bed.

Lewis Schaffer and Karen discuss something or other

Lewis Schaffer and Karen discussing relative values last night

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I DO know what it means and I AM generous because, the more I give a woman, the less she has to pay attention to me, the less she’ll notice how I don’t care, how I’m unable to get an erection. How, even when I get an erection, it’s not noticeable.

KAREN: You got an ‘innie’?

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I got an ‘innie’.

KAREN: It’s more like a vagina, really, than a penis?

LEWIS SCHAFFER: Yeah. It’s like a penis, only smaller. Is your husband a generous lover?

KAREN: He’s very generous. He gives me his paycheck every month.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: (TO DARREN) How much do…

KAREN: (TO ME) You know what? John Fleming should write his own blog. He just talks to other people and then writes it down.

LEWIS SCHAFFER: That’s what he does. He’s gotten so lazy.

ME: Have you given me a good blog? Have you mentioned Lewis Schaffer’s flaps?

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I’ve got an ‘innie’.

ME: What?

LEWIS SCHAFFER: I’ve got an ‘innie’.

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The Green Party diversifies into comedy Newspeak & Doublethink over women

Lindsay Sharman tries out diversity

(This also appeared in The Huffington Post)

In her blog yesterday, 2010 Funny Women Awards finalist Lindsay Sharman wrote:

____________________

A chap from The Green Party contacted me last week to offer me a 10 minute slot on a bill headlined by Alistair McGowan, for a Green Party fundraising event. I accepted, and we started exchanging e-mails to finalise details.

This morning, I received this –

Hi Lindsay,

I’m really sorry but I am going to have to withdraw our offer. It’s nothing personal, I was asked if I could increase the diversity of comics on the night. So we’ve got a 63 old transexual comic instead of a second female artist. Sorry you have been usurped in this case for a transexual

Best Regards,

Chris

____________________________________________________________________

I am a great admirer of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, especially the Appendix – on The Principles of Newspeak – which is why I have always been extremely opposed to so-called “positive discrimination”. It is pure Orwellian Doublethink. There is no such thing as “positive” discrimination; it is simply discrimination… It is an attempt to prevent discrimination by discriminating… Pure Doublethink.

The Green Party has managed to mess up their gig – and their PR – on all fronts. They had a good female comic in Lindsay Sharman. They then bizarrely tried to make the bill more ‘diverse’ by getting rid of not one of the male comics but one of the two female comics on the bill. AND they managed to belittle the (extremely good) transsexual comic (whom I know and admire greatly) by treating her as if she is not a woman but a separate ‘quota’.

As comic Karen O. Novak said, when hearing about this, the Green Party thought it had “achieved ‘diversity’ by replacing a white female comic with… a white female comic”.

Comic Charmian Hughes said: “I think the Green Party insulted both comics! They insulted the trans-sexual comic even more than the person they cancelled! I think it was actually more insulting to her than to Lindsay!!!”

Women have it bad enough already without the Green Party muddying the waters.

Janey Godley, a superb comic and possibly the best all-round creative I have ever encountered, tells me: “There is a booker in northern England who won’t have women on the bill… and I have had bookers say to me Sorry – We had a woman before and they were shit.”

Comedian Kate Smurthwaite tells me: “A London promoter once said to me: I can’t book you that week, Kate – I’ve already got Angie McEvoy on the bill and you’re too similar. Anyone who has seen both our acts would know we are very different in terms of style and content. The only obvious thing we have in common is gender.  Five minutes later, in the same conversation, the promoter said: I do want to book you, though, cos I think you’re really pretty – Do you want to come for a drink with me?

Comedian Laura Lexx tells me: “I have been introduced as The very pretty young lady Laura Lexx, which obviously doesn’t make an audience think particularly highly of you… but I very rarely gig on bills with other women outside of London so I suppose it often feels like it’s a ‘one in one out’ system for ladies and bills.”

Kate Smurthwaite tells me: “I once saw a male promoter say, as a female comic left the stage: I normally kiss the female acts, but I won’t kiss her. Then he said: If you want to drink alcohol, use the bar downstairs but (pointing at a busty woman in the front row) if you want to drink milk – ask her.”

Lindsay Sharman tells me: “A West Country promoter once introduced me to the stage with I only gave her this gig cos I fucked her! (I certainly hadn’t) and then mimed humping me from behind.”

But the sexism is not even restricted to men. Another female comic said to me: “CSE, who book gigs for the British Army, rarely book women – maybe one every four years – and they have a sexist website where all the men hold mics and the women are sexy dancers – and it’s women who run it!”

Lindsay Sharman used yesterday’s Green Party PR own-goal as part of her comedy act last night. “But,” she told me, “one of the other comics actually thought I was making it up, as the crassness of Sorry you have been usurped in this case for a transexual just sounds too unreal, like a shit punchline.”

I guess it is a bit like writing fiction. Novelists have told me they can’t write the actual truth because it’s so utterly OTT no-one will believe it. People will only believe the truth if it is watered-down. In comedy, I think people have a tendency to believe the made-up bits if they are skilfully interwoven and think the real bits are made-up because they are just too incredible.

Like this case in point.

The Green Party ‘diversifies’ into comedy Newspeak & Doublethink over women.

You could not make it up.

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Filed under Comedy, Politics, PR, Sex